Monthly Archives: July 2011

Ballet Chicks

I’ve been going to a lot of ballet classes lately (it’s humiliating, I don’t speak French) and I cannot get over these women.  Lithe, lean, tall, elegant…they all have perfect posture, long hair put perfectly into buns, and buttocks like 2 cantaloupes in a ziplock bag.  I just don’t get it.

“Relevay ruhteeray,” it sounds like the teacher is saying and all the women begin bringing their legs up.  “Second position, ron de jahmb!”  And then we’re all making circles.  (Why can’t she just say, make leg circles?)  Next comes “Arabesque,” and the legs start swinging all over the place.  Long, cellulite-free legs that look like they belong on mannequins are impossibly pointed towards the ceiling.  Toes are curved so sharply they look like trowels.  I meanwhile, am off-beat, slow, and my somewhat pointed leg is barely higher than 2 feet off the floor.  I’m also not in the requisite leotard and tights with a ridiculously cute skirt wrapped around my flat stomach and pointy hips.

So why do I keep going back?  It’s not for the view of myself in the mirror  sandwiched between ballerina #1 and 2, that’s for sure.  I think I go back because for that 1 hour, I’m in my head, battling with myself to push beyond what I think I can do, beyond the hurt, beyond the self-consciousness.  I’m beating down my ego and learning how to admire that which is different from me without jealousy or envy.  So far, I’m still envious…that much grace in 1 person is hard to swallow.  But the dancers, once they start moving, are so mysterious and gamine and beautiful.  It’s as if I’m in a room with people who are more divine than I.

The below are from the blog My Modern Met, featuring photographs by Dane Shitagi from the New York City Ballerina Project.  You can click on them to enlarge those wish.

 

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Girls Just Want To Have Fun

Last night I dove into the old classic, Girls Just Want To Have Fun starring Sarah Jessica Parker.  Sam left the room is disgust, but I was transported back to 1984 in all it’s cheesy glory.  Lycra, big hair, men baring their midriffs, and women in Jane Fonda tights – it was awesome.  The best part of the movie was SJP who hasn’t changed a bit.  Seriously, in both body and face (and maybe even the hair, let’s be honest) she is exactly the same.  Talk about good genetics.  What’s even more amazing is how slim, lean, and fit everyone is.  A big difference from today’s look.  Nowadays I think the look is either skinny in an ‘I don’t eat’ kind of way or toned and muscular in a ‘I work out everyday for hours’ kind of way.  I like the old 1980’s look.  Very European.

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Dogs in a Restaurant

I have no idea why I find this so funny, but I do.  Maybe it’s from that dumb ‘dogs playing poker’ painting.  All I know is that I can totally see two dogs doing this and then (but only in LA) becoming food critics, writing a best-seller, and finally selling the rights of their story to Paramount.  Or no, better yet, Sony Classics.

And then of course I had to watch all the other stupid videos people have put up about their pets.  Here’s one more the cat lovers out there…this guy’s got skills.

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The 27 Club

With Amy Winehouse’ death this past Saturday, the 27 Club gains yet another talented member.  Age 27, Winehouse’ supposed overdose come as no surprise to many as it was in the making for the past 4 years.  Sad and tragic none-the-less, Winehouse’ ill-timed death can’t but make me wonder… What is the significance of number 27?  What happens to artists physically, emotionally, chemically, romantically that makes that age such a hot button for death?

Here are the members:

  • Amy Winehouse
  • Brian Jones (Rolling Stones)
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Janis Joplin
  • Jim Morrison (The Doors)
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat (artist)
  • Jonathan Brandis (actor)
  • Louis Chauvin (ragtime musician)
  • Robert Johnson (blues musician)
  • Nat Jaffe  (blues musician)
  • Jesse Belvin (R&B)
  • Rudy Lewis (The Drifters)
  • Malcom Hale (Spanky and Our Gang)
  • Dickie Pride (musician)
  • Alan Wilson (Canned Heat)
  • Arlester Christian (Dyke and the Blazers)
  • Linda Jones (R&B)
  • Les Harvey (Stone Crowes)
  • Ron McKernan (Grateful Dead)
  • Roger Lee Durham (Bloodstone)
  • Wallace Yohn (Chase)
  • Dave Alexander (The Stooges)
  • Pete Ham (Badfinger)
  • Gary Thain (The Keef Hartley Band)
  • Cecilia (singer)
  • Jacob Miller (Inner Circle)
  • D. Boon (The Minutemen)
  • Alexander Bashlachev (artist)
  • Pete de Freitas (Echo and the Bunnymen)
  • Mia Zapata (The Grits)
  • Kristen Pfaff (Hole)
  • Richey Edwards (Manic Street Preachers)
  • Stretch (rapper)
  • Fat Pat (rapper)
  • Freaky Tah (rapper)
  • Sean McCabe (Ink and Dagger)
  • Rodrigo Bueno (singer)
  • Maria Serrano (Passion Fruit)
  • Jeremy Ward (musician)
  • Brian Ottoson (American Head Charge)
  • Valentin Elizalde (singer)
  • Orish Grinstead (R&B)
  • Lily Tembo (musician)
  • And then at age 28, Heath Ledger

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The Discovery of Witches

When a friend recommended I read Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, I stored the suggestion away in the back of my mind somewhere along with using vinegar the next time I wash the kitchen floor and taking a knitting class.  On my next trip to the library however, A Discovery of Witches jumped right at me.  It the very first book I saw when I walked over to the shelves.  Somehow among a thousand books lined up on a wall the size of a football field, I walked to this one.  Weird.

But for some reason, I didn’t want to open the big book.  It looked boring and disappointing and did I mention really really big?  And so I left it sitting in a green bag by the front door for almost a week.

And then one day, with nothing else nearby, I picked up the heavy tomb and began.  It was slow at first and somewhat contrived and I kept thinking I would just put it down.  Yet for some reason, I couldn’t.  I kept flipping the pages and flipping the pages…and then somewhere along the way, the book was awesome.  Harkness created a wonderful world of pseudo-reality that takes places (majoritively) at Oxford University in England.  Staged between a highly intelligent Professor of History (the witch) and an even more intelligent scholar/professor/ancient super-dude (the vampire), Discovery unravels a tale that crosses back and forth between alchemy, religion, philosophy, genetics, and the amazing Darwinian theories on evolution.  And all of it is centered around a mysterious book that every one wants to get his hands on.

In short, I flew through the 800 pages in less than 48 hours and can’t wait until the next book comes out.  Rumors have it to be scheduled for January.

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Harry Potter, the Final Hurrah

Last Friday, Salty Ham Sam and I went to see the final installment of the Harry Potter movie franchise…eh.  I mean, it was good.  It couldn’t not be.  But it was different from the book in a few major plot points and I just couldn’t go with it.  Every time X would abracadabra Z when in fact, Y was the person who abracadraba’d Z and it was in the library with Professor Plum, not in the kitchen with Mrs. White, my attention would be drawn out of the film.  I understand that certain adjustments had to be made to tell the story in less than 2.5 hours, but the changes seemed really substantial.

Sam, who has never stuck his nose into one of the books, had no such feelings about the movie.  As he didn’t know the original storyline, the film lived up to all of his non-existing expectations.  And yes, it’s true, the definitive moments were all hit…just not quite the way that J.K. Rowling wrote them.  The rumor mill has it by the way, that there was a very different ending originally filmed and that they went back and re-did it.  This newer, alternative ending is the one we were given.  I wonder if the original cut will be included at some later release and if it more closely echoes the novel.

So, in closing…if you’re a purest, check on Jim Dale’s version. which is absolutely one of the most amazing creations I’ve ever listened to.  (Harry Potter Audio) I could Forrest Gump myself from Maine to Chicago and on to Santa Fe listening to these things.

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The Edge

Yesterday I went to the Edge Performing Arts Center and had my ghetto booty handed to me on a bling bling platter.  It was humbling to say the least.

The Teacher:  Leslie Scott, a famous hip hop choreographer who has traveled all over the world doing her ‘thang.

The Scene: at least half a dozen studios full of professional dancers doing stuff that I usually have to pay to see.

My Class:  Hip Hop as I’ve never seen it done before.  The complicated movements were barely even described and yet, the rest of the dancers picked up the intricate 8-counts in mere seconds.  Instead of explaining the movements, the teacher focused on “musicality”…music what?

The Students:  I met a professional dance troupe from Canada, a professional dance gang from LA, some professional dancers just out of dance academy, and a professional dance group from New York…and then me of course.  Oh yeah, and some hip hop dancers who were you know, in between music video/concert gigs.

The Result:  I bumbled my way through and made it out alive, although I was the only one not dripping with sweat.  I blame my lack of cardio on the fact that there was no way in hip hop heaven I could catch what the teacher was doing in less than 3 or 4 days of instruction at least.  Here’s the song so you can hear for yourself what I subjected myself to.  You’ll see how fast it is – and now picture a room full of professionals keeping time with their entire bodies using robotic movements etcetera.  And then me in the back thinking, “We’re adding on more? Already?”  Oh yeah, and there was also ‘freestyle’ time where the dancers would just show-off/rock it freestyle.  Basically, I just did the white man’s overbite during these interludes and watched every one around me.  It was ridiculous.  Freestyle.  Yeesh.  I don’t have a freestyle!

Oh and I’m going back.  I’ve already got my next class picked out.  I just pray the teacher doesn’t enjoy this freestyle stuff.  Otherwise, I’m going to have come up with some kind of routine.

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